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Weekly News Published - August 29, 2017 by the Central Office

 

Sept. 16 marks opening of archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons

MADISON - Increased deer observations following another mild winter have hunters and state wildlife officials alike excited for fall hunting seasons - the 2017 archery and crossbow deer seasons run concurrently statewide from Sept. 16 to Jan. 7, 2018.

"I'm hearing a lot of optimism from all corners of the state," said Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources deer and elk ecologist Kevin Wallenfang. "Hunters should expect good to excellent deer numbers in most areas within the central and southern farmland zones, and more deer in the forested zones after several years of no antlerless harvest and mild winters. With our most recent mild winter, reports of excellent antler growth and good fawn production are common."

In 2016, archery and crossbow hunters combined for one of the highest buck harvests in history, and Wallenfang expects similar, if not an increase, in the buck harvest this year. Deer hunters in just four predominantly forested counties will see buck-only hunting this year. Throughout the remainder of the state, antlerless hunting opportunities are available through the use of Farmland Zone and bonus antlerless deer tags.

Archery and crossbow deer hunters have a continuous season framework that includes hunting during all gun deer seasons in November and December, plus the option to fill a gun deer tag using crossbow or archery equipment during open firearm seasons.

In its first three years, hunting with a crossbow has provided an additional opportunity for many hunters throughout Wisconsin, and accounts for the highest rate of participation by women than any other deer hunting method. Those interested in using both a conventional bow and crossbow may do so by paying full price for one of the licenses and purchasing a $3 upgrade for the second license. Hunters will use the same buck tag and antlerless tags issued with their first license of choice.

In addition, please note that regulations regarding tree stands and ground blinds used on department managed lands have changed for fall 2017. For other types of property such as county or federally owned lands, contact the property manager to learn about these rules.

Bonus antlerless tags remain available in many deer management units. Bonus tags may be filled with any weapon type during the appropriate season, but must be filled in the zone, county and land type designated on each tag. Bonus tags are available on a first-come, first-served basis at a cost of $12 each for residents, $20 each for non-residents, and $5 for youth hunters age 10-11.

In 2017, up to five Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags are included with each deer hunting license, depending on the Deer Management Unit (DMU) of choice. Hunters who have not yet purchased a license for hunting deer will be prompted to select the unit and land-type for the Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags at the point of sale. Licenses may be purchased through the Go Wild website, GoWild.WI.Gov or at any of the more than 1,000 Go Wild license sales locations.

Hunters who purchased their deer hunting licenses earlier in the year, or who have yet to determine hunting location, may defer the Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tag selection. When ready, hunters may:

GameReg

All harvested deer must be registered electronically by 5 p.m. the day after the deer is recovered. GameReg is simple, fast and convenient for hunters. The system will prompt hunters to answer a series of questions, beginning with the carcass tag number and date of birth.

Hunters will have three options for registering their deer:

For more information regarding electronic registration, search "GameReg."

To receive email updates regarding deer hunting in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select the "white-tailed deer" distribution list (found within the "hunting" list).

Deer hunters are also encouraged to check out the frequently asked questions page for more information regarding changes for 2017. And, remember to check out the carcass tagging FAQ (search keywords "tag it").

For more general information regarding deer hunting in Wisconsin, search keyword "deer."

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Online tools show hunters where baiting and feeding is banned

MADISON - Before taking part in upcoming hunting seasons or placing feed for wildlife, hunters and wildlife watchers should be sure to check which counties currently prohibit wildlife baiting and feeding activities.

State statutes 29.336 (2) (b) and 29.336 (2) (c) have been amended to remove deer baiting and feeding prohibitions for counties in which 36 months have passed since any confirmed positive test for chronic wasting disease or bovine tuberculosis within the county. This amendment also removes deer baiting and feeding prohibitions in adjacent counties that are within a 10-mile radius to counties in which 24 months have passed since any confirmed positive test for chronic wasting disease or bovine tuberculosis.

The following 15 counties previously subject to deer baiting and feeding prohibitions have reverted back to regulated deer baiting and feeding as a result of this proposal's enactment: Barron, Burnett, Calumet, Clark, Dodge, Jackson, Kenosha, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Polk, Racine, Sheboygan, Washburn, Washington and Waushara. It is important to note that baiting and feeding restrictions remain in place for 28 CWD affected areas/counties, of which none will be lifted in 2017.

This change affects counties in which an individual is restricted on the placement of bait/feed. The current regulations for placement of bait/feed in counties where this practice is allowed are still in place, including timing, location, quantity, and other requirements. Hunters should continue to follow local ordinances that may prohibit baiting and feeding of deer until they are notified of a change locally.

Those interested in baiting/feeding should take time to be familiar with the associated regulations, found at dnr.wi.gov, keywords "baiting and feeding."

These outcomes apply equally to positive samples from free-roaming or captive animals. More information regarding current baiting and feeding rules in response to CWD detections can be found at keyword "CWD."

During the 2017 deer hunting season, DNR will continue to sample deer within the Southern Farmland Zone and at select locations in the CWD-affected area. To learn more about the 2017 CWD surveillance plan, or for more information on CWD, search keyword "CWD." Hunters are reminded that the surveillance plan identifies where the Wisconsin DNR will be attempting to collect samples from deer however if hunters anywhere in the state are interested in having their animal tested, they should contact their local wildlife biologist for the county they are located.

Individuals may still feed birds and small mammals, provided feeding devices are within 50 yards of a human dwelling and at a sufficient height or design to prevent access by deer.

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2017 Wisconsin wild rice harvest season outlook

MADISON - Wild rice abundance reports across northern Wisconsin vary only slightly from 2016 for the 2017 ricing season. For the second year in a row, reports from the field note this year's rice crop is well below average across the state, though a small handful of lakes contain harvestable rice beds.

"Harvesting wild rice in Wisconsin this year will require early scouting and information gathering," said Jason Fleener, Department of Natural Resources wetland habitat specialist. "Ricers may find that lakes in the northwest region of the state are faring a bit better than lakes in the Oneida and Vilas county region."

Wild rice may mature later than usual this year.
Wild rice may mature later than usual this year.
Photo Credit: DNR

With poor rice conditions this year, Fleener suggests speaking to local ricers or rice finishers as a good way to find out when and where rice is available for harvesting. In general, rice may mature later than usual on most lakes this year. With late maturation and poor rice conditions this year, it is even more important than usual to avoid harvesting too early.

"Picking before the rice has fully matured not only reduces the viability of seed that falls into the lake, but it leads to poorer harvests and poorer finishing rice," Fleener added.

Wild rice waters are divided into two categories for harvest in Wisconsin: date-regulated and non-date-regulated. Date-regulated lakes are located within the Chippewa Indian Ceded Territory in off-reservation areas in the northern part of the state. Ricers are reminded that the date regulation rules on Lake Noquebay in Marinette County have been repealed, allowing rice gathering to occur at the discretion of the gatherer.

Opening harvest dates for date-regulated waters are determined jointly by DNR and Chippewa tribal officials. All date-regulated waters are posted at access points at least 24 hours in advance of opening day. Unfortunately, many date-regulated waters will be closed for the 2017 season due to failed rice crops or poor rice conditions. These closures protect and replenish seed stock and help promote rice growth in future years.

A list of date-regulated lakes with harvesting status can be found on the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission's Off Reservation Wild Rice Management web page [Exit DNR]. This webpage provides rice abundance information for each body of water listed based on annual aerial and ground survey information.

Those harvesting wild rice should be aware that wild rice growing along rivers, streams, and some flowages adjacent to private land may be privately owned. Ricers are encouraged to check local land ownership records or with DNR, and request permission from land owners before beginning their harvest within these areas.

For more information regarding wild rice licensing and harvest regulations, visit the Wisconsin DNR's homepage and search keywords "wild rice."

To receive email updates regarding wild rice in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select the appropriate distribution list.

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Local volunteer honored for 50 years of extraordinary hunter education service

MEDFORD, Wis. -- Dick Rudolph of Medford recently stood before his hunter education class and was presented with a 50th anniversary rifle.

Rudolph honored for 50 years of hunter education service.
Dick Rudolph (right) was recently presented with a 50th anniversary rifle by recreational safety warden Mark Little in honor of 50 years of hunter education service.
Photo Credit: DNR

The man of few words and lots of wisdom is a legend in his area.

Mark Little , a recreational safety warden with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, says Rudolph is humble and possesses an adherence to discipline. "I can't think of two more important character traits a man should have," Little said.

Rudolph was honored for an outstanding 50 years of volunteer service to the Wisconsin Hunter Education Program on July 31. The award was presented by Little in front of Rudolph's hunter education class at the Medford Town Hall Center.

Hunter Education Administrator Jon King said: "The program is successful because of volunteers like Dick Rudolph, and his family who have supported him to be able to share his expertise with so many."


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Now is time to plan 2017 learn to hunt programs

MADISON -- A number of different hunting seasons get underway throughout September, making now the ideal time to start planning learn to hunt events, according to the state's hunting and shooting sports coordinator.

"While hunters are planning their own outings, they can also think about planning Learn to Hunts events," Keith Warnke of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said. "There's still time to get applications in."

An often-overlooked benefit of Learn to Hunt events, and hunting in general, is the food harvested. From tender small game like rabbits and squirrels to flavorful gamebirds and hearty big game like deer, hunting puts lean, naturally raised protein on the table. "Hunters get exercise when they participate," Warnke said. "On top of that, the food just can't be beat."

Deer, waterfowl and spring turkey Learn to Hunts are traditional favorites, Warnke says, adding a very popular, economical choice is the pheasant. Kelly Maguire, Poynette Game Farm director, agrees.

"Remember, if you're hosting a Learn to Hunt pheasant, sponsors can get free pheasants from the DNR game farm for the event," Maguire said.

She said the State Game Farm in Poynette supplies two birds per participant, up to 50 birds per event. The newly renovated facility produces an impressive 75,000 pheasants a year for release on public hunting grounds.

"It's a great deal and helps our partners put on fantastic events," Maguire said. She reminds those planning pheasant hunting events to submit completed, signed Learn to Hunt applications in order to get their pheasants.

For more information on all your Learn to Hunt needs, search the DNR website for keyword "LTH.".

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Comments sought on DNR strategic analysis of fish passage at dams

GREEN BAY -- The Department of Natural Resources invites the public to comment on its Strategic Analysis of Fish Passage at Dams.

Fish passage describes the ability of fish to move upstream and downstream to find suitable habitat and breeding grounds. While unimpeded fish movement in rivers was recognized as important well over 150 years ago, technology development to effectively pass fish around or through dams has been slow, with much trial-and-error. The topic of fish passage at dams involves many DNR programs and has become increasingly complex.

This strategic analysis is an informational document for the public, the department and natural resource policy makers to better understand the topic and to aid in the crafting of future fish passage initiatives. It summarizes our best current information on fish passage, the known and possible environmental impacts, applicable regulations and potential policy approaches.

The strategic analysis and links to more information about fish passage at dams can be found by searching the department website, dnr.wi.gov, for key words "fish passage."

Comments on this Strategic Analysis may be submitted through Oct. 16, 2017, by email to DNRFISHPASSAGE@wisconsin.gov, or sent via US Mail to Jim Doperalski Jr., environmental analysis and review specialist, 2984 Shawano Avenue, Green Bay, WI 54313

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DNR seeks public comment on High Crush facilities entering Green Tier program

AUGUSTA, Wis - The public has an opportunity to comment on an application to the Department of Natural Resources' Green Tier program from Hi-Crush Proppants for its facilities in Monroe, Trempealeau, Jackson and Eau Claire counties.

Hi-Crush is applying for Tier 1 of the Green Tier program, which is a voluntary program designed to encourage, recognize and reward companies that are committed to improved environmental performance that leads to superior environmental performance. Applicants with good environmental records are required to develop and implement an Environmental Management System (EMS), which will be used to set goals, assess progress and identify potential improvements.

Hi-Crush was founded in October 2010 to mine and process premium monocrystalline sand, a specialized mineral that is used as a proppant to enhance the recovery rates of hydrocarbons from oil and natural gas wells.

Hi-Crush currently operates four industrial sand mines with processing and rail loading facilities in Wisconsin, including: Augusta, Blair, Whitehall and Wyeville. Hi-Crush's mineral reserves consist of Northern White sand, predominately found in Wisconsin and limited portions of the upper Midwest region of the United States.

Hi-Crush's business operations have been designed to minimize environmental impacts. The company's processing and rail loading facilities are located on-site, reducing costs and impacts of trucking sand between wet and dry plants. Hi-Crush operations also help lessen air quality impacts by utilizing overland conveying systems to transport mined materials, eliminating the need for trucking or hauling the material with heavy equipment or via diesel burning trucks over local roadways. Hi-Crush's EMS, which went into effect earlier this year, is expected to optimize operations over time and improve environmental performance.

Future environmental performance goals include, but are not limited to:

The DNR will accept public comments on Hi-Crush's Green Tier application through September 27, 2017. Comments may be directed to Roberta Walls, DNR, 3550 Mormon Coulee Road, La Crosse, WI 54601, or by email to Roberta.Walls@wisconsin.gov, or by calling (608) 785-9272.

More details about Hi-Crush's application can be found by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords Green Tier.

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Contact information

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608-267-2773